It’s that time of year! In some areas kids are already returning to school and where I live, they will be heading back soon. There are a handful of skin conditions that are quite common among school-aged children. None of these conditions are really life threatening, but they are very contagious and can be quite time consuming and frustrating.
Educate your children on proper hygiene measures (hand washing is so important) and be sure to remind them not to share personal objects such as hats, headbands and hooded jackets.
This topic always makes my skin crawl. Head lice are teeny little insects that take up residence in human hair and feed on blood from the scalp. They are about the size of a sesame seed and spread quickly, especially when hair is worn down or hats are shared.
- Prevention is totally possible! Wear hair pulled back and rely on natural oils (ie, don’t wash hair every day) to help prevent lice. Educate your children to not share hats or other items that are worn on the head. Shampoos like So Cozy Boo! Lice Scaring Shampoo may also be effective. My daughter has long, thick hair and I encourage her to wear it pulled back as much as possible but I also pay close attention when I’m washing and brushing her hair.
- If your child does come home with head lice, take immediate action. Purchase a special lice comb and comb out each nit and lice. You also need to treat any bedding, stuffed animals, and clothing and may have been exposed to the lice. Sometimes, a prescription lice shampoo is required. Your doctor will be able to prescribe this for you.
This name often confuses people as this doesn’t actually mean that your kid has worms. Ring worm is used to classify skin fungal infections that present as red, scaly bumps which over time may form a ring with raised, scaly borders. Ring worm usually shows up on the body but can also present on the toes, scalp or nails. This condition isn’t really dangerous or painful but can be incredibly itchy and will require a topical antifungal medication (oral medications are used to treat ring worm of the scalp or nails).
A viral infection that causes a mild skin rash, Molluscum Contagiosum appears as one or more small
bumps with a central depression that are usually pink or flesh colored and is most common in children between 1 and 12 years old. This infection is highly contagious and can be passed through skin-to-skin contact but also by touching objects that have the virus on them. While the infection can clear on its own (which usually take about a year, but can take up to 4 years) most doctors will recommend treatment options that can help you clear the infection faster.
One of the most common skin infections among children, impetigo produces blisters or sores in infected areas (most common on the face, neck, hands and diaper area). Impetigo spreads easily through direct contact and through contact with other items that have touched infected skin. The infection can also be spread to other parts of the body by scratching and is more likely to develop when there is a sore or rash already present. Impetigo is treated with antibiotic ointments, although in some cases an oral antibiotic may be required. It is important to keep infected areas clean and covered to aid in healing and prevent spreading. Impetigo is more common in kids who play sports, particularly contact sports like wrestling. Sometimes students may be temporarily asked to stop playing a sport if they are found to have impetigo, because it is so contagious.
Keep an eye out for any rough patches of skin that are particularly itchy or irritated. Child eczema is a very common cause of irritated skin but it is always possible that there is something being passed around the classroom. When irritated skin persists, a visit to the doctor is important to help prevent any disease from spreading and to help limit the amount of pain your child might be experiencing. If your child is diagnosed with a contagious condition, notify the school so that items in the classroom can be sanitized and other parents can be notified.
As always, feel free to share your comments or questions below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head Lice – http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/head-lice/multimedia/head-lice/img-20007669
Ring Worm – http://www.healthline.com/health/ringworm
Molluscum Contagiosum – http://www.healthline.com/health/molluscum-contagiosum
Impetigo – http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/impetigo/home/ovc-20202557